Mini Reviews #25: April 2022 Reads

Boys of Summer by Jessica Brody

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Trigger warning: death of a parent, alcoholism, parental abuse, slut-shaming

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After more than a year, no one more surprised than I did when I decided to pick this back up on a whim and ended up enjoying it.

I always love stories set in the summers, especially if our characters have history of summering together before the ~summer that change it all~. This book is no exception, except instead of romance, the friendship between our three main characters are put front and center. Sure, there are plenty of romance and drama to talk about and at times, it feels like we spend more time on them. But no matter how deep in the romance they are, each boys always think about their collective memories and friendships and wished they could spend more time together.

Out of 3 boys, Mike is definitely my favorite in terms of personality and storyline, followed by Ian and Grayson. I liked the multi POVs as it gives us insight to the journey they went through, as well as their reflections on their friendships. Despite the different backgrounds and current predicament, they all thought fondly of their friendship and through the different storms and uncertainty about their future, they tried to stick together. I just wish we got more moments of them together, more memories of them that aren’t tangled with Harper or worrying about the future.

Boys of Summer is not without its problem, but if you’re looking for a quick summer contemporary reads filled with strong friendships, sunshine and romance, you should definitely check it out.

Welcome to Winlock Harbor…

Best friends since they were kids, Grayson, Mike, and Ian were hoping for another epic summer on “The Locks”, filled with clam bakes, bonfires, and late-night swims in the ocean.

But that was before Ian’s dad never returned home from his last deployment. Before Mike had to take on more responsibility in order to help provide for his family. Before Grayson’s accident left him with an injured throwing arm and an uncertain future.

It’s clear this summer on the island is shaping up to be very different from those Grayson, Mike, and Ian have come to rely on. And when the sacred code of dating a friend’s sister or ex is broken, it will push their friendship to the absolute limit, testing their loyalties in a way that could either break them—or save them.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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I was going to read this slowly, actually reflect and try to apply the tips but I realized that after 4 months, I’ve been dragging it out at this point so I decided to finish it in April. I can see why this book is really popular and how following these tips will “win friends and influence people”. After all, who wouldn’t be charmed by someone who listen to you, remember your name, and admits when they’re wrong, among all tips?

However, I also see some flaws in the tips mainly that it only works if the other person are also reasonable and would not be insolent- the examples written in this book showed that most of the people are quite reasonable but what happen when you meet someone who takes advantage of these tactics, knowing that you will not correct them? Also, some of them might required some tweaking in the age of social media, where everyone is protected through screen that there might be lack of empathy, where judgement is swift without chance of hearing the other person.

Despite my concerns, I would say that this book deserves its hype and the way it was written with the many anecdotes made it very easy to read.

You can go after the job you want—and get it!
You can take the job you have—and improve it!
You can take any situation—and make it work for you!

Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you:

-Six ways to make people like you
-Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking
-Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment

And much more! Achieve your maximum potential—a must-read for the twenty-first century with more than 15 million copies sold!

Cat’s Cafe: A Comics Collection by Matt Tarpley

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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I was suddenly in the mood for something short and cozy so I was scrolling through the graphic novel section when I came across Cat’s Café. I’m glad I decided to pick it up, because it’s the exact type of comfort I needed 💛

As the title suggests, this is a book about a cat who owns a café and how the other forest inhabitants often visited for support. Whether it’s in the form of caffeine boost like the Penguin needed, companionship or seeing your crush, the atmosphere of the café was warm and inviting. Every characters in the story were amazing, but my favorite are Penguin, Axel, and Chipper! Despite the many characters, each of them were able to shine through their own individual storyline; many of them discussing about mental health. Perhaps the character that show this the most is Rabbit and how it constantly receives love and support from everyone around it 🥺 There are 2 storyline in particular that made me cry, which were when Rabbit was spiraling and Chipper was holding their tears 😭

If you’re looking for some comfort or looking for something similar to The Tea Dragon Society, I highly recommends Cat’s Café for you!

Serving up more than just coffee and tea, Cat’s Café provides its cast of adorable characters a gentle, supportive space and a hefty serving of the warm and floofies.

Welcome to Cat’s Café, a neighborhood coffee shop where all are welcome! Based on the popular webcomic, Cat’s Café introduces readers to the adorable denizens of this world. There’s Penguin, who has a bit of a coffee problem; Rabbit, whose anxiety sometimes overwhelms him; Axolotl, whose confidence inspires his friends; the always-supportive Cat, who provides hot drinks made with love and a supportive ear for anyone’s troubles; and many, many more. With a sensitive take on real issues and a gentle, positive outlook, Cat’s Café is about the power of acceptance, friendship, and love … and delicious cups of coffee.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Trigger warning: suicide

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I expected to love this book, but I truly devoured it when I read it.

I was fascinated with the Theranos scandal because as someone from biomedicine, the promise it sold was truly game-changer. I can see why people would want to believe in that, but what I couldn’t wrap my head around was how all of these rich people got fooled??? How did they bravely invested without asking experts opinion? Sure there were some big names, but they were statesmen, not scientist, doctors, or health officials.

Reading Bad Blood was fascinating as it offers an insight to more than just big names on the news, but to the past and day to day running of Theranos. The culture of secrecy and paranoia, the overly optimistic outlook, and the fact that instead of hiding, Elizabeth was relishing the spotlight. Sunny is a creepy guy and so much of Elizabeth’s life was spent in connection to him but I can’t help but wonder how much is the role Elizabeth played in the scandal.

It still didn’t answer my questions on how did they got fooled and have so much patience with Theranos. Like, it’s a huge amount of money that spectacularly under-delivered; what makes them very lenient about this? No matter how young and promising Elizabeth and Theranos were, there has to be some limit? After all even tech and pharma companies have limit. Further, didn’t they review the business side of things; income, expenses, financial reports? Where were the financial advisors???

It’s also sad to see so many dreams crushed- not only from patients but also from regular employees who left promising careers at big names or quitting PhD program or other opportunities because they truly believe in Theranos. Investors who lose their money might not even feel it (as with Rupert Murdoch) but regular people might not be so lucky.

I have interest in watching The Dropout, especially with how many praises it has been getting. However, I think this book is also a fascinating and thrilling read about the Theranos saga so if you still want to know more about it, I highly recommend this book!

A New York Times bestseller.

WINNER OF THE FINANCIAL TIMES/MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2018

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

In Bad Blood, John Carreyrou tells the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.

Now to be adapted into a film, with Jennifer Lawrence to star.

‘Chilling . . . Reads like a West Coast version of All the President’s Men.’ New York Times Book Review

4 thoughts on “Mini Reviews #25: April 2022 Reads

  1. I have just finished watching the Dropout and I now want to read Carreyrou’s book! I’m so happy to hear it lived up to your expectations! 🥰

    Like

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